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The Northern German Football Association league system is the regional association league system in the states of Bremen, Hamburg, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein and starts at level four of the German league system with the Regionalliga Nord on top.

The champions enter a promotion playoff along with the winners of the four other Regionalliga divisions and the Regionalliga Südwest runner-up for three promotions to the 3. Below the regional association's league system, the four state association league systems of the Bremen Football Association, the Hamburg Football Association, the Lower Saxony Football Association and the Schleswig-Holstein Football Association work as feeders to the Regionalliga.

Hamburg state league system ↑ 1 promotion playoff spot Bremen state league system ↑ 1 promotion playoff spot Schleswig-Holstein state league system ↑ 1 promotion playoff spot Lower Saxony state league system ↑ 1 promotion spot 1 promotion playoff spot Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state league system ↑ 1 promotion spot Brandenburg state league system ↑ 1 promotion spot Berlin state league system ↑ 1 promotion spot Saxony-Anhalt state league system ↑ 1 promotion spot Thuringia state league system ↑ 1 promotion spot Saxony state league system ↑ 1 to 2 promotion spots Rhineland state league system ↑ 1 promotion spot to Oberliga Rheinland-Pfalz/Saar Saarland state league system ↑ 1 promotion spot to Oberliga Rheinland-Pfalz/Saar Southwest state league system ↑ 1 promotion spot to Oberliga Rheinland-Pfalz/Saar Baden state league system ↑ 1 promotion spot 1 promotion playoff spot to Oberliga Baden-Württemberg South Baden state league system ↑ 1 promotion spot 1 promotion playoff spot to Oberliga Baden-Württemberg Württemberg state league system ↑ 1 promotion spot 1 promotion playoff spot to Oberliga Baden-Württemberg After each season, the winners of the Bundesliga are crowned German football champions. Whereas the professional first three levels of the German football league system each are single division only and are organised by nationwide governing bodies, the semi-professional level four Regionalliga comprises five independent divisions, each run by different regional and/or state associations.

The bottom two Bundesliga teams are relegated to 2. Three regional bodies, being the Northern German Football Association, the North East German Football Association and the Western German Football Association, each run a division under their sole jurisdiction, these being the corresponding Regionalliga Nord, the Regionalliga Nordost and the Regionalliga West.

Teams that finish at the top of their division at the end of each season can rise higher in the pyramid, while those that finish at the bottom find themselves sinking further down.

In theory it is possible for even the lowest local amateur club to rise to the top of the system and become German football champions one day.

The champions and the runner-up of the Regionalliga Südwest and the champions of the Regionalliga Bayern enter a promotion playoff along with the winners of the three other Regionalliga divisions for three promotions to the 3. Below the regional association's league system, the five state association league systems of the Baden Football Association, the Bavarian Football Association, the Hessian Football Association, the South Baden Football Association and the Württembergian Football Association work as feeders to the Regionalliga.

Mostly in line with the geographical borders of the 16 German states, amateur football is organised by 21 state football associations.

Liga, the lowest full professional division in Germany, held by the German Football Association itself.

Below the regional association's league system, the three state associations league systems of the Rhineland Football Association, the Saarland Football Association and the Southwest German Football Association work as feeders to the Oberliga.

The Southern German Football Association league system is the regional association league system in the states of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Hessen and starts at level four of the German league system with the Regionalliga Südwest, which is held under joint jurisdiction along with the Regional Football Association South West respectively with the Regionalliga Bayern.

Therefore, 13 states, these being Bavaria, Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hesse, Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saarland, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein and Thuringia have a state football association with a jurisdiction covering the whole area of the corresponding political entity.

Three states are subdivided into more than one state football association.

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